Government troops yesterday searched for dozens of missing Hindu villagers feared dead after the discovery of a grave containing 28 corpses in Rakhine state, evidence of what the army says is a massacre by Rohingya Muslim militants.
Northern Rakhine has been ravaged by communal violence since Rohingya insurgents staged deadly raids on police posts on Aug. 25, unleashing an army crackdown that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.
The vast majority — more than 430,000 — are Rohingya Muslims who have fled across the border to Bangladesh from a military campaign which the UN says likely amounts to ethnic cleansing of the stateless minority.
However, tens of thousands of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, and the region’s small population of Hindus, have also been internally displaced, saying they were attacked by Rohingya militants.
The army on Sunday said it had discovered two mud pits filled with 28 Hindu corpses, including women and children, outside the village of Ye Baw Kyaw in northern Rakhine.
“The security troops continue searching for remaining Hindu people around the places of the pits,” said a statement posted on army chief Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook page yesterday, blaming Rohingya militants for the killings.
Displaced Hindus from the area last week said that Rohingya fighters stormed into their communities on Aug. 25, killing many and taking others into the forest.
They showed reporters a list of 102 people from two villages — Ye Baw Kyaw, where the bodies were found, and Taung Ywar — feared dead by distraught relatives, who wept as they described the bloodshed.
A Hindu community leader in the area, Ni Maul, confirmed that the search was going on.
“Soldiers and police are here with us to find the rest of the bodies around this area,” he said, adding that authorities are still working to identify the 28 corpses exhumed on Sunday.
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